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Jenson Button leads the way in final practice for the European Grand Prix

Jenson Button, McLarenJenson Button showed that his recent qualifying struggles could be behind him by topping Saturday morning practice for the European Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver knocked Lotus's Romain Grosjean off the top spot by just under a tenth of a second during the flurry of soft tyre qualifying simulations in the final minutes of the session.

This suggests that he will be in the mix for pole position, although Sebastian Vettel, who ended the morning an unobtrusive 13th, justified his status as the man to beat by setting the fastest times of all in the first and second sectors before aborting his only flyer on softs late on.

After a quiet opening 10 minutes of the session, first Grosjean and then team-mate Kimi Raikkonen topped the timesheets, although it was Red Bull driver Vettel who set the best time of the medium-shod runs, posting a 1m38.434s just after the halfway point of the one-hour session.

During the medium runs, there were few incidents, although Pedro de la Rosa did spin his HRT after losing it under braking for the final corner.

Grosjean was the first to bolt on the soft tyres after half an hour, jumping to the top of the times. His lap was good enough for second overall, with Raikkonen, who took advantage of an uncongested circuit to complete his qualifying simulation with 10 minutes to go, proving that Lotus will be strong this afternoon by lapping just a tenth slower.

Force India pairing Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta carried their impressive Friday form over by setting the fourth and fifth fastest times ahead of Sauber driver Sergio Perez.

Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher was seventh fastest ahead of Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and Felipe Massa (Ferrari), while Pastor Maldonado, who showed strong pace relative to the rest on mediums, completed the top 10 for Williams.

Several big names were in unfamiliar territory in the bottom half of the timesheets. Fernando Alonso's Ferrari ended up 12th after a big lock up at Turn 12 during his soft tyre run that forced him to take to the run-off area, with Vettel one place behind him with a time set on mediums.

Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) was down in 15th, but it was Red Bull driver Mark Webber who endured the worst session. He completed just four laps before a technical problem brought his morning to a close, meaning that he didn't get the chance to run on soft tyres in preparation for qualifying.

Pos  Driver                Team                  Time              Laps
 1.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m38.562            17
 2.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1m38.655s  + 0.093  18
 3.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1m38.759s  + 0.197  18
 4.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1m38.819s  + 0.257  17
 5.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1m38.892s  + 0.330  17
 6.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1m39.084s  + 0.522  20
 7.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1m39.141s  + 0.579  15
 8.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1m39.178s  + 0.616  17
 9.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1m39.318s  + 0.756  15
10.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1m39.357s  + 0.795  18
11.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1m39.358s  + 0.796  19
12.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m39.395s  + 0.833  15
13.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m39.434s  + 0.872  13
14.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1m39.543s  + 0.981  13
15.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1m39.946s  + 1.384  20
16.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m40.037s  + 1.475  17
17.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m40.134s  + 1.572  20
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1m40.681s  + 2.119  15
19.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1m41.282s  + 2.720  4
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1m41.931s  + 3.369  15
21.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1m42.758s  + 4.196  14
22.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1m42.815s  + 4.253  16
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1m42.943s  + 4.381  14
24.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1m43.124s  + 4.562  16

All Timing Unofficial
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